Drug-Resistant Fungus Computing's Top Prize Google's AI Chatbot Beat Airline Ticket Prices ChatGPT Bug 7 Daily Habits for Happiness Weigh Yourself Accurately 12 Healthy Spring Recipes
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

BitTorrent's dysfunctional relationship with Comcast

BitTorrent's CEO said he had been working with Comcast's CTO to improve the cable network's broadband efficiency when the company started throttling BitTorrent traffic.

NEW YORK CITY--You've heard about the controversy over Comcast throttling back BitTorrent traffic on its network. But did you know that before the news exploded in the media, Comcast's chief technology officer was actually advising and working with BitTorrent?

That's what BitTorrent's CEO Doug Walker told me Friday when we sat down for a one-on-one interview at the Distributed Computing Industry Association's P2P Market Conference here.

According to Walker, Tony Werner, Comcast's CTO, was acting as an advisor to BitTorrent before the hoopla over traffic shaping even came to light.

"The funny thing about a company the size of Comcast is that they can work with us in the background asking us what kinds of things we can do together to more efficiently deliver high-bandwidth content," he said. "And on the other hand, the folks on the network side are throttling back our traffic. Someone catches them doing it, and a spotlight is cast on them. And the public opinion for the company goes down. The funny thing is we were actually already helping them find a solution to the problem that they were trying to solve by throttling BitTorrent traffic."

During our conversation, Walker criticized Comcast's network management tactics as "wrong," but he said his company is still talking to Werner and his people about possibly partnering.

"Tony is a really great guy," he said. "He understands the issues and we're continuing to have a dialog. And I'm hopeful we can work together in the future... If there is anyway to help (Comcast provide faster speed service to its customers), we would like to be part of solution."

For more on my conversation with Walker, look for a Newsmaker Q&A on CNET News.com early next week.